As Sarah Anne McCallahan slid the last hatpin into place atop her head, she heard the back door slam shut downstairs.
"Boys have all the fun!" she complained loudly to no one but herself.
* * *
Her brother and all of his friends were celebrating the end of the spring planting with a foray into the mountains, complete with fishing, picnicking, and plenty of relaxing. Sarah, on the other hand, would spend the day stuck at home with the church ladies, attending a quilting bee with her mother.
"Mother, please. I'd much rather go to the mountains. Fresh air would do me so much good."
"No, Sarah. All that sunshine isn't good for a lady's complexion. And what would people think, you gallivanting with the men, unchaperoned? You're not a country girl. You're a Southern lady, and you need to learn to behave as one."
"Harrumph." Sarah muttered and stalked upstairs to get ready.
* * *
Just as she was slipping on her gloves, her mother called upstairs.
"Sarah Anne," she said. "I'm going to the post office to mail a letter. As soon as I return, we'll go to the quilting bee. Make sure you're ready."
"I will be, Mother," Sarah sighed.
Sarah walked downstairs and sat in the front room, waiting for her mother to return. She looked out the picture window, down the long drive and past the pecan trees. How she longed for a trip out of this town!Something sparked her interest, and her face perked up instantly. Earlier that morning, her brother had borrowed her horse for a quick jaunt into town, and he had left her saddled, tied to the front porch.
"Penelope," Sarah Anne thought to herself. "Get ready for an adventure!"
Moments later, after a hastily penned note reading "Penelope and I rode up to find Peter and the boys. Will be home in time for supper. Love, Sarah," she straddled her horse (the first step in loosing the '"Lady" title) and headed down the lane.
* * *
Hours later, hot and sweaty from the heat and the exhilaration of this new-found freedom, Sarah Anne McCallahan reached the site of the picnic. The boys, obviously, were surprised to see her, but welcomed her to their party just the same. Sarah was a fun girl.
They spent the next several hours fishing, playing in the brook, and enjoying the great outdoors. A while later, as they lay on the bank, relaxed and happy, Sarah made a mistake.
"Mother's going to kill me when I get home," she said.
Her brother responded with "What?! Mama doesn't know you're here?"
"Oh, no," Sarah laughed, her voice sounding like jingling bells. "She wanted me to go to a quilting bee with her. I hate sewing."
"Sarah Anne McCallahan!" her brother shouted. "We need to get you home immediately before this is all pinned on me!"
"Oh no!" she cried, and took off running across the brook. Two of Peter's friends (and her potential suitors) ran with her. At one point, she almost slipped and fell, and luckily, they were there to take her hands and save her dignity (what was left of it!).
They took off across the field, laughing and cavorting and having a wonderful time, until, at last, they all collapsed to the ground in a heap, completely spent.
At this point, Peter caught up to them, scooped his sister into his arms, and carried her back across the brook to escort her home.